I remember the first time I heard the word Chaos. It was the name of a comic book character in a Sega video game my friend Cliff and I rented. That character turned everything around him into disarray, a fevered frenzy of activity that could not be admired unless slowed down by the slow motion replay feature of the game. I thought chaos was neat.
Chaos is actually anything but neat. Chaos has turned my bedroom into a chemistry lab where I combine beakers of human milk and Enfamil, and then try to get a tiny creature to eat it without throwing it back up onto my face. Chaos has made my spare bedroom into a late night dumping ground for tiny laundry soiled with pee, poop, vomit, or any combination therein. Chaos has turned my mother-in-law into a short order cook and wife and me into zombies at times. We couldn't be happier for chaos, but it is surely not neat.
I guess chaos might seem like a strong term to you - it implies lack of structure. Actually, we have structure. There is a recipe for our mayhem, and we follow it well. There have just been fires to stomp out every little while over the course of the first week. Here is a sample of one of our three hour cycles.
1:55 a.m: I wake Micah and take him to change his diaper prior to feeding. Rachel prepares bottles for supplemental feedings.
1:59 a.m: While having his lower half raised to clean his backside, Micah pees on his own shirt and face, necessitating change of clothes. Rachel comes into the room to see what is taking so long.
2:04 a.m: Micah begins nursing. I tell Rachel to wake me if she needs anything.
2:05 a.m: Rachel wakes me to tell me that Micah is farting a lot.
2:10 a.m: Rachel and I decide to nickname Micah. He will now be referred to as Fester, for his strong resemblance to Fester Adams.
2:20 a.m: I wake Malorie and take her to change her diaper prior to feeding.
2:22 a.m: Rachel comes to the changing table carrying a screaming Fester. He has burped up milk and needs to be changed prior to continuing his meal. She leaves with Malorie.
2:25 a.m: Malorie begins nursing by pursing her lips and arching her back to reject the boob as I give Fester his bottle.
2:30 a.m: Rachel and I nickname Malorie. She is now called Mal Pal, because it rhymes and it's tough to be creative at this hour. Mal Pal has now decided to take the milk, but not because we want her to, only because she wants it.
2:32 a.m: Mal Pal falls asleep nursing.
2:33 a.m: Mal Pal cries because Rachel used a wet cloth to wake her back up.
2:50 a.m: I ask Rachel if we can watch Sportscenter. I tell her Mal Pal might want an update on the National League wild card standings. Request denied.
2:52 a.m: Rachel begins bottle feeding Mal Pal. I can't take her because I can't get Fester to burp.
3:00 a.m: I decide Fester must not need to burp since he hasn't done so yet, and so I return him to his crib and take Mal Pal, who is now sleeping again. I reintroduce the idea of Sportscenter as Rachel begins to pump. Request denied.
3:03 a.m: Fester burps up milk all over his bassinet. Rachel now takes Malorie, who we will no longer call Mal Pal because we are tired and annoyed. We still call Micah Fester because it is a slightly demeaning nickname and he is causing us extra work. Tyson leaves the room in disgust.
3:10 a.m: Fester's in new clothes, bed linens are replaced and Malorie is finishing her bottle. All is right with the world, except I don't know who won the Dodgers-Rockies game.
3:15 a.m: Malorie and Micah are now back in the bassinet asleep. Rachel restarts the extraction. I write down feeding information into our log and then go to get a piece of cake from the fridge because if Rachel won't let me watch Sportscenter, I will punish her by getting fat. In addition to creativity, logic also apparently not my strong suit at this hour.
3:35 a.m: Rachel wraps up the pumping and goes to clean the materials. I take product to fridge and return to find Malorie fussing in crib.
3:45 a.m: We get Malorie settled and returned to bed. Tyson, somehow knowing the entire evolution is nearing an end, returns to the bedroom and promptly attempts to take my spot in the bed as I set the alarm for 4:55 a.m.
OK, so not every evolution goes quite this rough. But, not every evolution goes quite this well either. All I will say is that Rachel and I are tired, frustrated at times, and absolutely loving every minute of the chaos. It has already given us reason to laugh, cry and yell at each other - but it has also given us a stockpile of memories: First time holding both babies at once, first doctor visit, first bath, first family picture, gifts, baby songs and nicknames galore. Now we just have to figure out how to work the slow motion replay feature of life so we can marvel at it all. Never mind, no time for that... the alarm is going off.
As for Beards for Babies, the charity is still plugging along. On Monday I was informed that the total was up to $565 in online donations. Thanks for all the great support, and keep it coming to the deserving people at Wolfson's NICU. As for the Mal-stache of the day, we have my friend Jimmy and his son Ethan modeling the Yosimite Sam Mal-stache, common in parts of South Dakota, the Dominican Republic, and seedy 1980's movies. Lookin' good gents, lookin' good.